Courses

AFRAMER 10 Introduction to African American Studies

West, Cornel

This course will examine canonical texts of the Afro-American intellectual tradition. W.E.B.Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin will set the scene and stage for other towering figures such as Walker, Douglass, Morrison, Wright, Drake, Frazier, Lorde, Wilson, Gates, Cooper, Baraka (Jones), Malcolm X, and others.

AFRAMER  97  Sophomore Tutorial: Pan-African Diasporic Imaginations: History, Concepts, Artistic Expressions 

Monson, Ingrid T.

This course explores the long history of creating pan-African solidarity among peoples of African descent in the Caribbean, North America, Latin America and on the African continent. Beginning with the Haitian Revolution and its lessons for understanding making history of diasporic past we examine the transformation of African identities under slavery, the economics of racial capitalism and then explore the origins of Pan-African thought. We examine the differences between Marcus Garvey’s and W.E.B. Du Bois’s pan-African visions and the influence of these ideas on anti-colonial struggles in Africa and the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. In the second half of the course, we examine artistic expressions in music, theater, and film, first in the 60s and 70s in North American, and then more in more recent works of Afro-futurism and hip hop in the U.S. Brazil, and Nigeria.

AFRAMER  99B Senior Thesis Workshop

Blier, Suzanne Preston

Thesis supervision under the direction of a member of the Department. Part two of a two part series.

AFRAMER 119X Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food         

Martin, Carla Denny

"This course will examine the sociohistorical legacy of chocolate, with a delicious emphasis on the eating and appreciation of the so-called "ood of the gods." Interdisciplinary course readings will introduce the history of cacao cultivation, the present day state of the global chocolate industry, the diverse cultural constructions surrounding chocolate, and the implications for chocolate's future of scientific study, international politics, alternative trade models, and the food movement. Assignments will address pressing real world questions related to chocolate consumption, social justice, responsible development, honesty and the politics of representation in production and marketing, hierarchies of quality, and myths of purity."

AFRAMER  124Y  Afro-Latin America: History and Culture    

de la Fuente, Alejandro and Sommer, Doris

This course explores how African cultural expressions influenced colonial societies and later national cultures in Latin America. How did peoples of African descent shape the formation of Latin American national cultures in areas such as literature, religion, visual arts, music, dance, and cinema? Some scholars have debated whether African religious, musical, medical and communitarian practices were reproduced in the New World or whether they were creolized through fusion with other (European and indigenous) practices.  Others have sought to explain how African cultural practices (music, religion, dances) that were derided as primitive and uncivilized in the early twentieth century became "nationalized" and transformed into key expressions of national cultures in many Latin American countries.  What are the implications of this process for those cultural forms and their practitioners? How do they impact, if at all, other areas of social life? We explore these questions through historical and literary texts, films, visual arts, and recordings.

AFRAMER  130Y  Mobility, Power and Politics

Agbiboa, Daniel

"This course incorporates insights from the new mobilities paradigm in studying the linkages between movement, power and politics in the contemporary era. The course will discuss how issues of mobility are central to many lives and many organizations, and how movement intersects with the spatialization and materialization of power, difference and inequality within societies. Students will come to an understanding of how mobility, and control over mobility, both reflects and reinforces power; why mobile subjects are increasingly a risk and at risk; and the impact of the regulation and governance of mobility on conflict, security and development. Students will also benefit from the new light that this course sheds on how issues of mobility and immobility intersect with security and development in at least five core areas: (1) questions of power and government (2) spaces of regulation and intervention (3) the quandary of freedom and control in a globalized world; (4) infrastructures that enable and constrain movement; and (5) issues of justice and ethics. Confirming the analytical appeal of the mobilities paradigm, this course will serve as a melting pot for a variety of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, geography, gender studies, social work and social policy, disability and health studies, conflict analysis and resolution, urban studies, political science and international relations. Topics will include mobility and terrorism after 9/11; mobility and mobilization of the urban poor; youth, mobility and being ‘stuck’; social mobility; roads, corruption and policing; mobility and il/legality; gender and mobility; and mobility as fieldwork."

AFRAMER 131Y Black Womens Voices in the #MeToo Era

Chavers, Linda Doris Mariah

"When accepting the Oscar for Best Actress in 2015 Patricia Arquette said the following: “The truth is, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are at play that do affect women, and it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we all fought for to fight for us now.” This course examines why such statements are part of a larger and longer tradition of disappearing black women and why they are popular in the cultural zeitgeist. Through extensive reading and tough discussion this class examines the current discourse around sexual harassment and assault from the #MeToo movement through the informed lens of Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Both “texts” involve navigating spaces of subjugation and supremacy and yet one voice has remained steadily ignored in mainstream audiences. We will also look at the intersection of race and gender that Incidents reveals and trace how these remain intact or not through today"

AFRAMER 158X The Key to Making It? Educational progress and barriers among black Americans

Rivers, Jacqueline Olga Cooke

"This course combines the study of the historical trajectory of educational achievement among African Americans with a sociological analysis of the challenges they have faced in attaining educational equity, with a focus on the current situation. The course will review the structural barriers to educational achievement that blacks have faced at different periods in the history of the US and the cultural strengths, such as the high value placed on education, that have driven them to achieve. The persistence of racial barriers in the current era and their importance for social mobility, particularly among working class and poor blacks, will be discussed."

AFRAMER 190X The Anthropology of Law: Perspectives from Africa and Elsewhere

Comaroff, John

"The course will cover (i) classical readings in the field, (ii) ""big"" theoretical questions concerning the relationships between law and violence, sovereignty, and religion, focusing on the often counter-intuitive insights to be gained from non-Western legal systems; (iii) law and colonialism; (iv) liberalism, difference, and the law in the postcolonial world, and (v) the judicialization of politics around the globe. Throughout, attention will be given to the lessons to be learned from legal anthropology for interrogating the present moment in the global north. Grades will be based on class participation, course presentations, and a term paper."

AFRAMER  191X  African American Lives in the Law

Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks

"This seminar focuses on biographical and autobiographical writings in a historical examination of the role of the individual in the American legal process. We will seek to understand how specific African Americans (as lawyers, judges, and litigants) made a difference-how their lives serve as a ""mirror to America""-and also to understand the ways personal experience informs individual perspectives on the law and justice."

AFRAMER 196Y African Literature and the Poetics of Memory         

Coulibaly, Bojana

"Literary representations of memory and trauma in African postcolonial and contemporary literature will be the main focus of this course. In order to understand how trauma impacts individuals in their relationship with their physical world, and how in a very unique way, characters cope with their traumatic reality, we will be analyzing ""structural disorder"" and ""historical event"" narratives, including novels and short fiction by Aminata Forna, Boubacar Boris Diop, Tayeb Salih, Yaa Gyasi, Ben Okri, Chris Abani, Jennifer Makumbi, and others. Our examination of these texts will be supplemented by trauma theory and its various subcategories that include the study of memory and forgiveness, retrospective narrative, testimony and bearing witness, PTSD, mourning, war and violence, transgenerational trauma as well as healing and working through trauma."

AFRAMER  209B/AFRAMER 306  Africa Rising? New African Economies/Cultures and Their Global Implications   

Comaroff, John and Comaroff, Jean

"In a story titled Africa Rising (2011), The Economist argued that the continent epitomizes both the ""transformative promise of [capitalist] growth"" and its bleakest dimensions. This workshop will explore Africa's changing place in the world - and the new economies, legalities, socialities, and cultural forms that have arisen there. It will also interrogate the claim that the African present is a foreshadowing of processes beginning to occur elsewhere; that, therefore, it is a productive source of theory about current conditions world-wide. The workshop, open to faculty and students, will meet Mondays, 6:15-8:15. 15 students will be permitted to take it as a course; they will also meet on Mondays, 12:00-1:20. Grades will be based on participation and a term essay."

AFRAMER  219B  Race and Ethnicity in Latin America

de la Fuente, Alejandro

"This yearlong seminar introduces students to current questions and debates in the study of race and ethnicity in Latin America, from the colonial period to the present. Our seminar answers the call, issued by anthropologist Peter Wade (1997), to produce scholarship integrating the study of Africans and their descendants, along with indigenous peoples, as participants in shared processes of racial formation, nation making, and state building. Through the systematic comparison of several cases, the course discusses how ideas of race have shaped processes of nation and state formation in Latin America, shaping opportunities for mobilization and public policies; how racial identities have been formed and invoked for different cultural and political purposes; and how ideas of race and ethnicity have contributed to the stratification of Latin American societies, which are among the most unequal in the world."

AFRAMER 91R Supervised Reading and Research

Blier, Suzanne

Students wishing to enroll must petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval, stating the proposed project, and must have permission of the proposed instructor. Ordinarily, students are required to have taken some coursework as background for their project.

AFRAMER 98 Junior Tutorial - African American Studies

Blier, Suzanne

Students wishing to enroll must petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval, stating the proposed project, and must have the permission of the proposed instructor. Ordinarily, students are required to have taken some coursework as background for their project.

AFRAMER 98A Junior Tutorial - African Studies

Blier, Suzanne

Students wishing to enroll must petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval, stating the proposed project, and must have the permission of the proposed instructor. Ordinarily, students are required to have taken some coursework as background for their project.

AFRAMER 310 Individual Reading Tutorial

Allows students to work with an individual member of the faculty in a weekly tutorial.

AFRAMER 390 Individual Research

Requires students to identify and carry out a research project under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Graduate students may use this course to begin work on the research paper required for admission to candidacy.

AFRAMER 391 Directed Writing

Requires students to identify a major essay and carry it out under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Graduate students may use this course to begin to work on the research paper that is a requirement of admission to candidacy.    

AFRAMER 392 Teaching, Writing, and Research

To be used to enroll in credits for teaching, writing, and research

AFRAMER 398 Reading and Research

Permission of the instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies is required for enrollment.

AFRAMER 399 Direction of Doctoral Dissertations